By Steve Marriott on August 4, 2020
Bedfordshire CCG is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for nearly 500,000 people who live in the Bedfordshire Borough and Central Bedfordshire, including working across all 47 GP practices, community health and mental health services and hospitals.
Having originally conducted a formulary review of blood glucose test strips in 2012, the CCG felt a current review was necessary in order to reflect the changes in the test strip market in terms of functionality and cost. With one of its two products on formulary being withdrawn from the market during 2019, combined with the need to make resource available for a new blood glucose monitoring system for Type 1 diabetes patients, the medicines optimisation team’s aim was to find a blood glucose meter that both met patients’ needs and was also cost-effective.
Joy Mooring, Senior Medicines Optimisation Technician at NHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, explains:
“Patient choice is an important factor. We conducted the formulary review reflecting the fact that patients have different needs and a choice should always be offered.”
During the review process, patients tested a range of lower cost products, with TEE2+ rated as their preferred choice, reporting that they particularly liked the finger pricking devices compared to alternative, cost-effective options. Likewise, the technology around the meter offered patients the option to Bluetooth their data to mobile devices to assist with monitoring. This resonated with the CCG’s objective to offer patients advanced options, such as updated technology and devices, to meet their needs.
Spirit’s active implementation process involves three stages:
- Training of all healthcare professionals and practice-based staff.
- Audit work, whereby patient criteria is agreed with the CCG and applied to practice data to identify eligible patients, which crucially also involves sign off by each patient’s GP.
- Clinic work, where patients are invited into their practice to attend a training, support and education session.
With Bedfordshire, the process also involved two pilot practices of different sizes, providing evidence that the process was robust and allowed for wider testing of the chosen meter and patient feedback. In a phased approach, the switch was carried out by a collaborative team comprising specialist Spirit staff and Bedfordshire’s technician team.
Significant benefits have been realised, including an overall cost reduction that has offset some of the cost pressure of the system for Type 1 patients, as the average unit price dropped in line with increased utilisation of Spirit’s TEE2+ test strips, from £10.39 to £9.41. The results have found that NHS Bedfordshire CCG is one of the best for average test strip cost in the country.
Fiona Garnett, Head of Medicines Optimisation at Bedfordshire CCG commented on the support from Spirit Implement, saying:
“We had direct engagement from the MD, who maintained regular contact and acted on requests to send out meters to surgeries in a timely manner. Spirit also provided monthly spreadsheets to demonstrate the progress of the project. We are pleased that we have been able to find a blood glucose test strip and meter system that has met both patients’ needs and been able to support a necessary reduction in costs.”
David Englefield, Head of Business Development, Spirit Healthcare, concludes:
“The TEE2+ is the fastest growing brand by volume of test strips being prescribed in the UK currently. We are delighted with the combined patient feedback and cost effectiveness that NHS Bedfordshire CCG has achieved as a result of this formulary review.”
Read the blog: An Effective Way to Reduce the Cost of Diabetes to the NHS